\ Barton Creek Resort & Spa, Fazio Canyons Course, Austin, Texas - A Tom Fazio Signature Golf Course in the Hill Country Outside Austin

Barton Creek Resort & Spa, Fazio Canyons Course, Austin, Texas - A Tom Fazio Signature Golf Course in the Hill Country Outside Austin

Barton Creek Resort & Spa can boast four championship golf courses designed by some of the best-known and most respected names in golf: Crenshaw, Palmer and Fazio. The first course to open at the resort was the Fazio Foothills, and he followed that up in 1999 with the Fazio Canyons layout.

The Fazio Canyons course is located two miles from the resport proper in the Hill Country around Short Springs Branch, the creek with a limestone bed that wanders through the layout. The course is also lined with stately Sycamore and Red Oak trees and is said to be one of the lushest courses and best-maintained in the state.

The underlying rugged terrain gives the course a good deal of character, as it winds through the canyon and up and down hills. There are both elevated tee boxes and greens, as well as numerous natural hazards, such as prickly-pear cacti and a variety of trees. The greens are also tricky. Though very large, they are said to be fast, undulating and difficult to read at times.

The 18-hole, par-72 course plays to 7,153 yards from the tips, with a USGA rating of 75.1 and a slope rating of 141. While the locals have been known to say that the first Fazio course, Foothills, has more dramatic holes, they agree that the newer Canyons course is the overall better layout.

It also has some noteworthy holes, including No. 9. This par-4 plays to 457 yards from the tips, which contributes to its ranking as one of the toughest holes on the course. The tee shot plays uphill, while a creek cascades down the hill from green to tee along the right side of the hole.

No. 10 sets the tone for the back nine and is one of the signature holes at Barton Creek. Another long par-4 at 442 yards from the tips, this hole features a severe dogleg right that requires a tee shot to the left side of the fairway. From there, players must take aim at a very small green that appears to be sliding into a rushing creek that guards the putting surface.

The finishing hole on Fazio Canyons is a par-5 that plays to 561 yards from the longest tees. This hole is said to rival the finishing hole on the Foothills course, and calls for a good deal of strategy. Water crosses the fairway twice and the hole plays downhill from the tee, giving players a number of decisions along the way. The second stream cuts right in front of a narrow green, and there's also a live oak just short of the putting surface that must be carried to get home safely.

Since its opening, Fazio Canyons has garnered a number of awards. GOLF Magazine listed it among the Top 100 Golf Coures You Can Play in 2006, while Golf Digest ranked it #83 on its list of America's 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses in 2007-2008.

Fazio Canyons is also home to the highly acclaimed Chuck Cook Golf Academy, which is ranked as one of the best golf schools in the country. The course also features extensive practice facilities, and has its own clubhouse with snack bar.

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